Modularity, the use of structurally independent building blocks (modules), has become a common strategy in many companies due to its numerous economical benefits. One of the disadvantages mentioned with modularity is the possible larger size of the modular products compared to their integral counterparts. For example, modular products are claimed to be larger and heavier due to the space and weight taken by the additional interfaces not needed in integral products. There is, however, no quantitative investigation whether modular design leads to larger or heavier products. We will, in this paper, show the relationship of product size and the degree of modularity. We use two pre-existing modularity metrics to measure the modularity of the products and a packaging factor to measure the use of space in the product. We investigated the relationship of product's degree of modularity and its Packaging Factor in a case study of four product pairs of similar function: cellular phone & desk phone, laptop computer & desktop computer, walkman & boom box cassette player, portable CD player & standalone CD player. We found that modular products use space less efficiently than their integral counterparts. In general, the modular products were also larger, but the larger size was not necessary for the functionality of the products. We therefore conclude that modular products do not have to be larger than integral products and thus the size should not be a reason not to pursue modularity if the other benefits of modularity are sought after.
|Otsikko||Proceedings of ICED 2007, the 16th International Conference on Engineering Design|
|Tila||Julkaistu - 2007|
|OKM-julkaisutyyppi||A4 Artikkeli konferenssijulkaisuussa|
|Tapahtuma||International Conference on Engineering Design - Paris, Ranska|
Kesto: 28 heinäkuuta 2007 → 31 heinäkuuta 2007
|Conference||International Conference on Engineering Design|
|Ajanjakso||28/07/2007 → 31/07/2007|